Spice Up Your Tacos with This Mouthwatering Barbacoa Recipe

Hello there, fellow foodies! Are you tired of the same old taco fillings? Well, have no fear because I have a delicious and easy recipe to spice up your taco game. Introducing the mouthwatering barbacoa recipe, perfect for any taco lover.

Spice Up Your Tacos with This Mouthwatering Barbacoa Recipe

Originating from Mexico, barbacoa is a slow-cooked beef dish that’s packed with flavor and tender meat. It’s traditionally cooked in a pit, but don’t worry, I have a foolproof recipe that can be easily made in a slow cooker or Instant Pot. The best part? This recipe can be used beyond just tacos and can be added to salads, burritos, bowls, or eaten on its own. Are you ready to get your taste buds dancing? Let’s get started!

Barbacoa Recipe: A Guide to Making Delicious Mexican Beef

What is Barbacoa?

Barbacoa is a traditional Mexican dish that is made by slow-cooking meat, often beef, with spices and seasonings until it is tender and flavorful. The history of barbacoa dates back to the indigenous tribes of Mexico who used an underground oven, known as an earth oven or a pit, to cook their meat. The meat would be wrapped in maguey leaves and buried in the pit with hot coals and stones, which would create steam and smoke to cook the meat. This cooking technique is still used in some parts of Mexico today to make authentic, delicious barbacoa.

Ingredients and Equipment

To make authentic barbacoa, you will need some essential ingredients and equipment. For the meat, you will need around four pounds of beef chuck roast. You can also use beef cheek or beef tongue if you prefer. For the seasonings, you will need dried guajillo chiles, garlic, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, vinegar, and salt. You will also need a slow cooker or a Dutch oven to cook the meat.

To prepare the dried guajillo chiles, you will need to remove the stems and seeds and then boil them for around 10 minutes until they are soft. Once they are soft, you can blend them with the garlic, cumin, oregano, vinegar, and salt to make a flavorful seasoning paste.

Preparing and Cooking the Meat

To prepare the meat, you will need to trim any excess fat and cut it into smaller pieces. Then, you can sear the meat on all sides until it is browned. This will help to seal in the juices and add flavor to the meat. Once the meat is seared, you can transfer it to the slow cooker or Dutch oven.

Next, you can pour the seasoning paste over the meat and add the bay leaves. You can also add some water or beef broth to the slow cooker or Dutch oven to create a flavorful sauce. Cover the slow cooker or Dutch oven and cook the meat on low for around 8-10 hours or until it is tender and falls apart easily.

Once the meat is cooked, you can remove it from the slow cooker or Dutch oven and shred it with a fork. You can also strain the sauce and serve it alongside the meat. Traditionally, barbacoa is served with warm tortillas, lime wedges, chopped onions, and fresh cilantro.

In conclusion, barbacoa is a delicious, traditional Mexican dish that is perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion. With the right ingredients and equipment, you can make authentic barbacoa at home that is sure to impress your guests. So next time you’re craving something delicious and flavorful, try making your own barbacoa.

Seasoning and Flavoring

One of the most important aspects of preparing a delicious barbacoa is the seasoning and flavoring. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the perfect taste that will make your mouth water.

Traditional Spices and Herbs

The traditional spices and herbs used in a barbacoa recipe are what make it so special and unique. These ingredients not only give it a rich taste but also add to its nutritional value. Here is a list of the most popular spices and herbs used in a traditional barbacoa recipe:

  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika
  • Cilantro

These ingredients can be combined in different ways, depending on the region or family recipe. Some people prefer a little more heat and might add a bit more chili powder or cayenne pepper while others might want a milder taste and reduce the amount of cumin or paprika. Experiment with the quantities and you’ll find the perfect combination that suits your taste.

Additions and Variations

While the traditional barbacoa recipe is delicious, there is always room for experimentation and creativity. Here are some ways to add some exciting twists to your barbacoa:

  • Chipotle Peppers: Add a smoky flavor and bit of heat to your barbacoa by using chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. This flavor combination is sure to be a hit.
  • Pineapple Juice: Pineapple juice is a great addition to the barbacoa marinade. It brings a sweet and tangy flavor that complements the rich and savory taste of the meat.
  • Beer: Adding a dark beer to the marinade can enhance the flavor of the meat and give it a deeper and more complex taste profile.
  • Cinnamon: If you want to add an unexpected twist to your barbacoa, try adding cinnamon. It can give the meat a warm and sweet flavor that is unexpected but delicious.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Let your imagination run wild and be creative with your barbacoa recipe. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with the next big thing in Mexican cuisine.

Serving and Pairing

Now that your barbacoa is ready to serve, it’s time to think about how you’re going to enjoy it. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your barbacoa dining experience:

  • Toppings: Add some toppings to your barbacoa such as diced onions, cilantro, and lime juice. These fresh ingredients will make the flavors pop and give it an extra kick of taste.
  • Tortillas: Barbacoa is best enjoyed in a warm tortilla. Warm them up and keep them in a towel so that they stay soft and pliable.
  • Sides: Traditional Mexican sides like refried beans, rice, and guacamole are great options to serve with your barbacoa. Alternatively, you can try something different, like a corn salad or roasted veggies
  • Pairings: A cold beer or a refreshing margarita can complement the flavors of your barbacoa nicely. For a non-alcoholic option, try a Mexican Horchata or a classic Jarritos soda.

With these tips, you’re all set to create the perfect barbacoa dish that will delight your taste buds and impress your friends and family. Remember, the key is to experiment with different flavors and find what works best for you.

Thanks for Reading and Keep the Tacos Rolling!

We hope you enjoyed this mouthwatering Barbacoa recipe and are excited to add a spicy twist to your next taco night. Whether you’re hosting a fiesta or just craving some delicious Mexican flavor, this recipe is sure to please your taste buds. Don’t forget to customize your toppings and enjoy with an ice-cold margarita!

Thank you for taking the time to read our article and explore our recipe. We hope you’ll visit us again soon for more delicious recipes and cooking tips. If you have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We love hearing from our readers and are always happy to help. Happy cooking!


1. What is Barbacoa?

Barbacoa is a traditional Mexican dish that involves slow cooking meat, typically beef or lamb, until it is tender and flavorful. The meat is traditionally cooked in a pit or covered in agave leaves before being shredded and used in a variety of dishes.

2. Can I use a different type of meat for this recipe?

Absolutely! While this recipe calls for beef, you can substitute with lamb, pork, or even chicken if you prefer. The cooking time may vary depending on the type of meat you use, so be sure to adjust accordingly.

3. Can I make Barbacoa in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can! Follow the same steps for preparing the meat and marinade, then place in a slow cooker on low heat for 6-8 hours, or until tender.

4. How do I store leftover Barbacoa?

Allow the meat to cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze individual portions for up to 2 months.

5. What are some other ways to use Barbacoa?

Barbacoa is a versatile ingredient and can be used in a variety of dishes besides tacos. Try adding it to burritos, salads, or quesadillas for a delicious twist.

6. Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes! You can prepare the meat and marinade up to 2 days in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to cook.

7. Is this recipe spicy?

While this recipe has a bit of heat from the chipotle peppers, you can adjust the spice level to your liking by adding more or less peppers or omitting them altogether.

8. Can I make this recipe vegetarian?

Yes! Substitute the beef with your favorite plant-based protein, such as jackfruit or roasted cauliflower, and follow the same marinade and cooking instructions.

9. What toppings go well with Barbacoa?

Some traditional toppings include diced onions, fresh cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco. You can also add guacamole, salsa, or sour cream for added flavor.

10. What type of tortillas should I use?

We recommend using soft corn tortillas for an authentic taco experience. If you prefer flour tortillas, you can use those as well. Just be sure to warm them up before serving for maximum flavor.